Excellent article by Jonah Goldberg (which is relevant to what I wrote moments ago, the latest O-Media Team rebranding of the White House website):
“THE OBAMA AGENDA” BY Jonah Goldberg
Now, I disagree with many of Obama’s positions — but not because they are ideological. There’s nothing wrong with ideological positions. Heck why is “anti-trade sentiment” an ideological position but pro-trade sentiment not? For the record, I’m very, very pro-trade. But I’m not ashamed to admit mine is an ideological position. Ideology is simply a collection of principles, a checklist of aims and priorities we hold up to important questions. “Does this protect our liberties?” is an ideological question, and a good one. I’m not embarrassed to ask it.
But this misses the point. Obama is laying down a rhetorical perimeter around his administration: Any criticism that questions his assumptions will be deemed “ideological” and, hence, illegitimate. Everything he does will be cast as pragmatic problem solving, every objection will be dismissed as the rants and gripes of dogmatists and ideologues.
This is a very old tactic. Woodrow Wilson, the first PhD president, insisted that his policies were rooted in the immutable laws of science and anyone who objected was a boob, a rube or, sometimes, a traitor. FDR promised that he, too, was a “pragmatist” who would take good ideas from his supposedly dispassionate Brain Trust. The New Deal itself was sold to the American people as a “post-ideological” enterprise. Whatever the merits of the New Deal, few people today looking back at it think of it as an ideology free effort. It’s worth noting that this was precisely the argument laid out by fascist movements across Europe, who proclaimed themselves to be “beyond ideology” and “neither right nor left.”
John F. Kennedy unveiled precisely the same argument. Don’t worry your pretty little heads, Americans, we have the best and brightest here and they know what to do, Kennedy told Americans. “Most of the problems … that we now face, are technical problems, are administrative problems,” Kennedy explained, and these problems should be taken out of the give-and-take of politics and left to the experts. Even Michael Dukakis tried to play this card, arguing in his Democratic acceptance speech in 1988 that the issue of the election was “competence, not ideology.”
What’s offensive about this argument is not only that it assumes anyone who disagrees with liberal conventional wisdom is somehow unhinged from reality, but that liberals themselves have a monopoly on commonsense…
Related to that, here’s another example of Obama’s attempts to angle (that means, to fish people in) that I make note of and why I find it worrisome:
Obama declared yesterday that “it doesn’t matter how big or small government is, but whether it works or does not” (I paraphrase).
There he goes again, lying, deceiving, attempting to sound intelligent while declaring a very stupid, crass, crudely non-academic but “pragmatic” statement.
Of COURSE it matters how large or small government is, but IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT from what Obama attempts to excuse his “big government” or “only government can” deceptive political plans as representing. Obama requires or needs “big government” (even IF it does “work,” the wrong aspect about it is that it is “big government” or government-down by hierarchy and function — just wrong altogether, working or not) — government-heavy or government-down is the entire definition of what Obama understands government is and it’s why he’s ponying around so frequently referring to “collective” contexts all pointing to himself.
And what he is attempting to do in that statement — and why I deem it to be loathesome and deceptive — is that he is deflecting attention away from what he actually has planned, what his goals are (government control, government supreme to the individual, an entirely Marxist concept), and that is, the “government intensive” or priority of government over the individual politics of today’s Democrats. As long as people are turned away down another road and start focusing on government “that works,” they are not guarding the nation from government that exploits and usurps: it’s the fakery of the Marxist who hopes you’ll think “change” means the end justifies the means.